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Tennis poetry in motion

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Tennis poetry in motion

WIMBLEDON -- If Roger Federer's performances at Wimbledon weren't already the stuff of poetry, they certainly will be this year.

The country that gave the world Shakespeare and Wordsworth will have a "Championships Poet" at Wimbledon to write a poem a day about the Grand Slam tournament.

British comedian and poet Matt Harvey is the first bard summoned, charged with writing "on all things Wimbledon." The All England Club said that includes everything "from umpires and racket stringers to the ball boys and ball girls; from the grass and its bounce to rain and the roof; strawberries and cream and all the unfolding drama of the matches and players."

The raft of possible topics may well include Queen Elizabeth II, who is planning to attend June 24, her first visit to the grass-court showcase since 1977.

The poems will be made available on the Wimbledon website during the June 21-July 4 tournament and as an audio podcast read by Harvey.

Harvey, who appears on British radio shows, said he was "delighted" by the assignment, "with a little bit of healthy anxiety thrown in."

In Grandest of Slams, he writes of the tournament, "Where tough tennis cookies have cracked and then crumbled in/Top seeds have stumbled, have tumbled, been humbled in/Wimbledon."

--The Associated Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition May 19, 2010 C2

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